What's my pH level? Should I cut carbs or calories? Is this even working?

There are so many diets out there, and new ones coming out each day. How are you to sort fact from fiction?

At the EIRMC's Wellness Center, we strive to help people understand that losing weight is less about trying each new diet that comes along, and more about adopting healthy eating habits and a lifestyle that supports your personal goals.

So, let's start sorting fact from fiction. One newer diet on the scene is the "Alkaline Diet", which is based on the belief that certain foods can affect the acidity of bodily fluids, including the urine or blood, and can therefore be used to treat or prevent diseases.

Acidity is measured by the pH level of bodily fluids. When urine has a pH above 7.0, it is considered alkaline, inferring that the person is healthy because human blood has a pH between 7.35-7.45.

The Alkaline Diet encourages foods such as fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, potatoes, and alkali-rich and low phosphorus beverages such as red/white wine and mineral soda waters.

The "no-no" foods are ones that lowers urine pH, such as: grain products, meats, dairy products, fish and alkali-poor and low phosphorus beverages like pale beers and cocoa.

Our dietitians at the Wellness Center say that Alkaline Dieters may enjoy some benefits, but primarily because of the increase in eating fruits and vegetables (always good advice!):

  • A decreased risk of osteoporosis through preventing the loss of calcium via the urine.
  • This diet involves a low-sodium intake which will reduce risk of hypertension while decreasing bone resorption and protein wasting.
  • Possible lower back pain and muscle wasting improvements due to a diet high in alkaline foods.

Although reviewed researchers found no risks, there is also no solid evidence supporting the idea that eating for an alkaline pH is beneficial to losing weight. Rather, it can be beneficial to eat as the Alkaline Diet has described for the various reasons listed above.

For questions about this diet, and advice on more effective ways to eat healthy, call (208) 535-4200 and ask to meet with a registered dietician.